1. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    (Disclaimer: I don't know if my device or OS is part of the problem, or if I should have placed this thread in the forum for that device. My HW information is available in my signature, below, and I'll also tag it, so if the moderators feel it belongs over in the LG Optimus area, please go right ahead and move it, and thank you for the trouble.)

    Audio streaming. Great, isn't it? We can listen to radio stations from Tierra del Fuego to Vladivostok to Pasadena. Or, more specifically, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, which is the home of my local NPR outlet KCRW. To access audio streams, I generally use TuneIn Radio, or the proprietary apps published by the stations in question. Sirius, XM and similar are not really suitable options for me because I'd rather listen to actual brick-and-mortar stations that have some kind of community presence. (It doesn't have to be my community; I often listen to German public radio.)

    I live in an urban residential neighborhood, so I do a lot of my errands on foot. I've come to enjoy very much the freedom that a mobile device is supposed to offer. I thought there'd be no more waiting in the car to hear the end of a program; instead I would be able to just head on into the store and use my device to keep on listening. And, as I said, I'm usually walking now anyway, or using public transit, so the car radio isn't always an option. It was great while it lasted, but now I've just about stopped trying. What's the point of firing up TuneIn Radio and tuning to my favorite station when I know that, after about three minutes the stream will stall? About the most common thing I see on the screen, on a daily basis, is this:

    20% buffered.................30% buffered..............40% buffered.....................Opening.(())(()))))(((((...10% buffered....

    And it doesn't seem to make any difference how many bars I have, how much charge is left in the battery, or even how much free internal storage there is. Neither does it matter what app I use, whether it's TuneIn or one of the proprietary apps. What with my having just flashed HydroRom, before which I had rooted stock GB, you might think that's the problem right there, and why don't I just go back? In fact, my mounting frustration with this issue is why I finally got around to flashing Hydro in the first place. Through this change I increased my internal free data storage from 20MB to nearly 90MB, out of 165MB total, but it hasn't helped the streaming issue. Nothing seems to help, not even allowing the app to use a slower stream. I've even tried overclocking, but that didn't help either.

    The issue has been particularly noticeable with KCRW, and I used to find that the NPR affiliates in Pasadena and San Francisco were much more reliable, but now those really don't work either.

    It's simply aggravating. The decision to maintain a smartphone account was one that required careful consideration, because they don't come cheap. But I decided that the additional utility over an ordinary dumb phone made it worthwhile. And I do get a lot of use out of it, believe me. But it irritates me no end that I have to keep on paying the same money while my service gets worse and worse. It's much worse now than when I complained about it in this forum, back in November. (Apart from 3g streaming, I've managed to resolve the other issues I described then.)

    Are there any solutions in sight? Or is the 3G network being deliberately degraded to force us into 4G? Under Windows, my previous smartphone handled streaming much better, although the range of available stations was much more limited.
    07-19-2012 06:49 PM
  2. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    Apart from streaming, the issues I listed in that thread have gone away.
    FTR, streaming at home from my ISP is also working fine now. It's outside the home that I'm having streaming issues.
    07-20-2012 03:03 PM
  3. apoc53's Avatar
    The whole reason all the carriers are getting rid of "unlimited data" plans are due to the surge in the number of mobile devices - all devices connected to a given tower have a bandwidth limit, which is determined by the tower's bandwidth limit vs. the number of devices connected to it. All those devices have to share the total bandwidth available to the tower - if the tower has too many active connections at once, everyone on that tower will feel degraded performance. Because you're in, as you say, a large urban area, and because you're on 3G, it may simply be that your local cell infrastructure is beyond its optimal capacity. There are speed test apps in the Android market that can help determine your true bandwidth - I know it's probably inconvenient when you're on the go and just want to listen to the radio, but you might try a speed test at the moment you start seeing problems. Beyond that, if you're just listening to a true local station (I'm not sure if your usage of "local" means what it did 50 years ago, or just "within the USA") you might try the FM Radio app if you've got it. It uses your headphones as an antennae and pulls in roughly the same stations available in your car.

    Sent from my HTC PH39100 using Android Central Forums
    07-21-2012 09:12 AM
  4. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    Listening through an actual FM tuner would work nearly all the time when I am out of the house, because at those times I usually do listen to local stations (i.e. "local" for actual FM means the same thing it always has, i.e. more or less within your city or metro area.) Unfortunately, my understanding is that my device doesn't have the hardware to support an FM app.

    As for speed testing, I do have Speedtest, the app version of Speedtest.net. It generally doesn't reveal anything. I still occasionally experience stalling and buffering even when listening at home through my ISP, but when I run Speedtest immediately thereafter it comes back normal.
    07-23-2012 10:42 PM
  5. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    I should have done this earlier, but today I finally ran Speedtest on the 3G network. I've attached my results here in the form of an Excel workbook, zipped into an .RAR file. I've redacted out the location information in the interest of anonymity.

    Note the two lines in which the download speed is under 90kbps. These are from where I experience the worst signal problems. At the time the network indicator was showing at least five bars.

    I guess that explains why I can't stream radio at those places, right?

    But is this to be expected, even in a major metropolitan area? I had no idea it was as bad as this. It's not like I'm trying to watch a baseball game--I'm just trying to stream a radio station, and I can't reliably do that.

    I have initiated a complaint to my service provider, but wold like to have some background info on what other Android users typically experience. Any info you are willing to give (anonymously, of course), may help to let the service providers know about these problems.
    07-27-2012 01:14 AM
  6. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    It's probably too early to tell what with this being the weekend, but yesterday I updated the PRL, and it seems to have helped very significantly. I'm now seeing download speeds that are only somewhat less than the upload speed, which I understand is normal. Prior to the update, my download rate was frequently only a fraction of the upload.
    07-29-2012 11:09 PM